He knew it was impractical. Molly spent her days leaning over cadavers, opening their chests and removing the vital organs.
He knew it was illogical. Why should he care? Bodies were transportation and any esthetic change was unimportant.
And yet he knew all the same how he desired it.
He had told her once he preferred her with her hair parted to the side. This had been a lie, one he'd used to gain access to the morgue. Well, perhaps it was not entirely a lie. The look did suit her better to the tight, centre-parted ponytail she'd worn previously. (She never wore her hair like that any longer. Not since he'd complimented her.)
At Christmas, he'd seen the locks cascading down her shoulders twice. The first time had been at 221B. She'd looked honestly ridiculous. Her makeup was too heavy and the hairstyle did not suit her. (Both Lestrade and John had been impressed with her look, although that had more to do with the black dress she'd worn. Her normal dress sense was very unflattering to her figure.)
Then, he saw her when he'd gone to identify the Woman's body. He'd been distracted that night, but he'd observed her all the same. It was his job to see everything around him, even when he had other things on his mind.
She'd come straight from home, her lab coat thrown over what she'd worn to lounge around her flat with her cat, no one to spend Christmas with.
She wore a silly red jumper with snowflakes and polar bears on it. (Sentimental value. Last gift her father had given her.)
Her hair was loose around her shoulders. It was natural, a slight curl at the ends that rested about halfway down her back. (Soft, based on visual analysis. Smelling faintly of lavender he'd learned when she'd leaned in once to help him with a slide.)
Sherlock was able to compartmentalize well. He'd isolated the memory of Molly's appearance from the memory of the Woman's faked death. Originally, it had been for the purposes of deleting it. It was an unimportant detail of the night.
It had not worked as well as he intended. Instead of the image being tied to rather unpleasant memory, it was free inside of his mind palace.
It was Molly. It was not Doctor Hooper. It was not Molly-trying-to-impress-him. It was an image of Molly he had never been privy to. Given her social life, he was sure few were.
That gave him a thrill he tried to suppress.
When he was woken one morning with the unfortunate biological reminder he was still a fully functioning human male, the image came to him unbidden while relieving himself in the shower.
He wondered how soft it really was. Visual analysis was not entirely accurate and certainly his memory was fallible.
He wondered how that hair would look tossed back, Molly's head tilted back as she moaned.
He wondered how it would look rumpled from sleep, spread out over his pillow.
The visage of Molly with her hair down became a regular feature in his infrequent sessions of self-gratification. Alarmingly, it seemed to cause the sessions to come a bit more frequently.
He needed to take care of the problem. He was not at all amused by his body's betrayal.
His mind had to be playing tricks on him. There was no way the reality was as appealing as his mind was making it out to be.
He decided to rid himself of the image completely by reminding himself of the reality. While Molly was assisting him at Barts with a case (If the blood type matches, it will have been the father-in-law.), he watched her ponytail bounce as she leaned over to look at the results on the computer. He leaned over and grabbed the elastic binding her hair, tugging it out.
Molly let out a small squeak and whirled around, her hair fluttering like a curtain around her.
Sherlock kept his face impassive even as he felt his stomach coil. He quickly rose from the table, keeping his back to Molly and he donned his coat to hide his growing problem. "Text me with the results," he said brusquely, sweeping out the door.
He barely made it into a supply closet when he found himself on the precipice, Molly's name on his lips.
The experiment was needless to say a resounding failure.
Two weeks later, he found himself in the lab alone with Molly once again. He had another case (Dead university student. Staged as a suicide.)
"She was about your size," Sherlock said, looking over Molly. "If I could recreate the murder scene."
Molly nodded and gave him a smile. She looked over the crime scene photos before obligingly laying on the floor in the same position as the deceased girl.
Sherlock knelt down beside Molly, straddling her legs. "It's not right. Her hair was down."
Sherlock leaned in and pulled Molly's hair once again from its tie. This time, he took a moment to appreciate the feel of it in his fingers. It was as soft as he imagined it had been, still smelling of lavender.
Molly let out a small squeak and her eyes widened. It did not take Sherlock long to realize the reason for her shock. He had pressed himself against her hip.
"She was having an affair with her Professor," Sherlock said quickly, rising to his feet. "I have to go tell Lestrade."
After that, Sherlock avoided Barts. If he needed information from there, he sent John in his place.
The stalemate lasted for three weeks.
Sherlock was in the midst of playing his violin when he heard the door to 221B open and hesitant footsteps against the floor. He didn't turn to look at her. "Most people knock."
"Am I most people?" Molly asked.
Sherlock shook his head. "I suppose not."
"Most people come up with an excuse before they run out and avoid you for three weeks," Molly's voice was shaking.
Sherlock lowered his violin before turning to face Molly. "Am I most people?"
Molly swallowed hard. "I suppose not." She let out a small laugh. "I suppose that is the understatement of the century."
Sherlock set his violin down in its case carefully. "What do you want, Molly?"
"It's not what I want," Molly whispered. "It's what you want."
She reached back and pulled her hair free from its ponytail, tossing her head and rumpling the freed locks with her fingers.
Sherlock strode to stand before Molly. He tangled his fingers in the tresses, tilting her head up towards him. "Do you have any idea what you are doing, Molly Hooper?"
Molly shook her head. "No. Do you, Sherlock Holmes?"
Sherlock leaned in towards her, his lips a breath from hers. "Not a clue."